Drug-Resistant Superbug Loose in Colorado

Six recent CRE infections appear to have happened outside hospitals
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2016 2:04 PM CST
New Reason to Worry About Drug-Resistant Superbugs
This illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a group of CRE bacteria.   (Melissa Brower/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

"Nightmare" superbugs on the loose in Colorado! That's the alarmist gist of a CDC report published this week. Bacteria known as CRE are resistant to powerful antibiotics and fatal to up to 50% of people infected, Live Science reports. Fortunately, infections in the US had almost entirely been confined to hospitals—until now. Six people infected with CRE between 2014 and 2016 in Colorado appear to have gotten it while going about their normal lives. They hadn't stayed in a medical facility, hadn't had surgery or dialysis, and hadn't had an invasive device inserted into them—all the most likely causes of CRE infection.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy says these "community-associated strains...add another layer of concern." The six recent cases of CRE infection in Colorado don't appear related to each other, nor do they appear connected to eight people infected with CRE during a hospital outbreak in 2012 in Colorado. While they had certain CRE risk factors—two had traveled abroad, two had underlying medical conditions, one was pregnant, three had recently taken antibiotics—it remains unclear how they were actually infected with the bacteria. In all six cases, the infected individual survived. Now the CDC has to figure out if CRE is spreading outside hospitals elsewhere in the US. (Read more superbug stories.)

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